Bustle & Sew Magazine Issue 120 January 2021 Sampler

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Hand Embroidery Needles A Very Little Look at Honiton Lace In the Garden: A Long Winter’s Sleep? Plus: January Almanac, In the Deep Mid Winter, Poetry Corner, Feed the Birds, Home Comforts and More 1

A Bustle & Sew Publication Copyright Š Bustle & Sew Limited 2020 The right of Helen Grimes to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without the prior written permission of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Every effort has been made to ensure that all the information in this book is accurate. However, due to differing conditions, tools and individual skills, the publisher cannot be responsible for any injuries, losses and other damages that may result from the use of the information in this book.

First published 2020 by: Bustle & Sew Station House West Cranmore Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP www.bustleandsew.com


Welcome to the January Magazine Hello everyone! The end of one year and the start of another is always a time for not only celebrations, but reflections on the twelve months just past and a looking forward to the future. I am sure almost all of us will be pleased to say farewell to 2020, and are likely to be doing so with just the company of a good fire and a few of our very closest loved ones. On a personal level, I don’t have any plans to make any formal new year’s resolutions, but rather promise myself I will appreciate all the good things I have in my life, spend more time in my garden and out and about in the countryside no matter the weather and - of course - make as much time as I possibly can to enjoy my most favourite activities of all, embroidery and sewing. There’s plenty to snuggle down with in this month’s issue - lots of lovely recipes just perfect for warming you from the inside out during this coldest of seasons, a look at what’s happening in the garden this month (you may be surprised!) and of course plenty of sewing to enjoy.

I do hope you’ll enjoy this month’s issue - stay safe and warm, and I’ll be back again next month. Very best wishes

Helen xx


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Between this month’s covers … January Almanac

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In the Garden: Plant Nursery

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Poetry Corner: Winter

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A Very Little Guide to Identifying Fibres

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Winter Banner

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Lovebirds Hoop

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A Long Winter’s Sleep

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Nature Notes: The Long Tailed Tit

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Farewell Christmas

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A Very Little Look at Tweed

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The Feast of Epiphany

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The Countryside in Winter

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Three Pretty Butterflies

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Princess Mouse Head

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Poetry Corner: In the Bleak Midwinter

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A Very Little Look at Linen

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Home Comforts

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A Very Little History of Honiton Lace

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Embroidery Stitch Guide

Page 67

Embroidery Needles

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In the Kitchen: Conversion Tables

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Lucy in Stitches

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In the Deep Mid Winter

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Winter Bird Cushion

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Tidying up in the Tool Shed

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Feed the Birds

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January January is named after the Roman god Janus, the guardian of doorways and bridges. Janus had two faces, looking in opposite directions - back towards the old year and forwards into the new. Although the shortest day is past and gone, January is a dark month in northern Europe. This can mean that once the Christmas and New Year festivities have come to an end, we’ve all returned to work, and the cheerful seasonal envelopes dropping on our doormat bringing flocks of robins, snowmen and reindeer have been replaced by those plain versions with windows containing bills, offers of life insurance and other such delights, then the beginning of January can seem a little flat even depressing. The nights are still long and in dull weather it can feel as though there is hardly any daylight at all. January 6 brings the festival of Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the Magi - the three wise men who travelled from the East to worship the baby Jesus, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and

myrrh. In the Orthodox Church it marks the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist around thirty

century livery, courtesy of the actor and former chef Robert Baddeley, who died in 1794 and left money in his will to fund this annual treat.

“The first day of January always presents to my mind a train of very solemn and important reflections and a question more easily asked than answered frequently occurs viz: How have I improved the past year and with [what] good intentions do I view the dawn of its successor?”

Frost, ice and snow make life hard for our non-hibernating wildlife, especially birds and small mammals, whilst also causing major problems for travellers motorists and pedestrians alike and sometimes it can feel as though winter will never end. But don’t despair. Although January brings frosts, sometimes snow, trees are bare and everywhere seems on first inspection quite lifeless, in fact the rhythm of life has simply slowed, not stopped altogether. Many animals are hibernating and migratory birds have headed south for warmer climes, so fewer birds will be seen in the fields and hedgerows. In many places farmers move cattle and other stock indoors to overwinter in barns.

years later. Also known as Twelfth Day or Twelfth Night, this is the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas and is the date by which you should take down your Christmas decorations to avoid bad luck. On Twelfth Night at London’s Drury Lane Theatre, the cast of the current show are served with a glass of wine and a piece of cake by staff in powdered wigs and 18th


There were dark days 78 years ago too, during WW2 as food rationing began on 8 January 1940, four months after the outbreak of war.

Prior to that the UK had imported over two thirds of its food supply. As enemy ships targeted incoming merchant vessels, supplies became scarce and the Ministry of Food issued ration books to every person. A typical weekly allowance for an adult included one fresh egg, 4 oz margarine and bacon, 2 oz butter and tea, 1 oz cheese and 8 oz sugar. Cheaper cuts of meat became more popular as they required fewer tokens. The Dig for Victory campaign encouraged people to be selfsufficient and grow their own vegetables. Many used their gardens, digging up the flower beds, and the number of allotments soared. Pigs, rabbits and chickens were reared for meat and a bartering system sprang up But even as we battle through yet another winter’s day, it’s good to remember that the solstice is behind us, the days are lengthening and new life is beginning to stir. Catkins will already be appearing on hazel bushes, turning from lime green to yellow as the month progresses. You may spot the earliest shoots of wild garlic sprouting up through the leaf mould, recognisable by their pungent smell if you crush them between your fingers. In the gardens the earliest spring bulbs, including snowdrops of course, will be beginning to appear and hellebores will be in flower. Many insects will be hiding or hibernating in the leaf mould and

tree bark and you can spot many kinds of birds hunting them out, including tits, woodpeckers, wrens, robins, nuthatches and blackbirds. You may even hear the last before you see them as they briskly toss

“So the next time he dropped one big one and one little one, and the big one came out first, which was what he had said it would do, and the little one came out last, which was what he had said it would do, so he had won twice…. And that was the beginning of the game called Poohsticks, which Pooh invented, and which he and his friends used to play on the edge of the Forest.” AA Milne, The House at Pooh Corner 1928 decaying leaves aside in their never-ending search for food. The winter months are also the most likely time to catch sight of an owl in daylight, since the shortage of food forces them to hunt for many more hours than is necessary in the summertime. On 18 January 1882, Alan Alexander Milne was born in London. After graduating from Cambridge University he worked as assistant editor of Punch Magazine and wrote a number of successful light comedies. AA Milne is chiefly


remembered, however, for the poems and stories he wrote for his young son, Christopher Robin in the 1920’s, creating characters based on the youngster’s soft toys that would go on to win the hearts of generations of children across the world. Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends Eeyore the donkey, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl and Tigger But though the countryside around us may lie bare and dormant, January brings two festivities that celebrate trees and their crops, acting as a timely reminder that warm summer weather and the harvest will return again, however unlikely and far off that feels right now. Wassailing is an ancient custom of the cider-producing regions of England (including Devon and Somerset) in which the wassail king or queen hangs pieces of cidersoaked bread in the branches of the largest or oldest tree in the orchard, wassail songs are sung and cider is poured onto its roots in the hope of enticing friendly spirits towards the tree. A wassailcup is drunk - made by warming cider and apple juice with spices, sugar, citrus fruits and perhaps a splash of cider brandy! Finally, shots are fired through the chosen tree’s branches, pots and pans are banged together loudly and so any lingering evil spirits are driven away, so guaranteeing a good harvest to come.

Winter Sweet blackbird is silenced with chaffinch and thrush, Only waist-coated robin still chirps in the bush: Soft sun-loving swallows have mustered in force, And winged to the spice-teeming south lands their course. Plump housekeeper dormouse has tucked himself neat, Just a brown ball in moss with a morsel to eat: Armed hedgehog has huddled him into the hedge, While frogs scarce miss freezing deep down in the sedge. Soft swallows have left us alone in the lurch, But robin sits whistling to us from his perch: If I were red robin, I’d pipe you a tune, Would make you despise all the beauties of June. But since that can’t be, let us draw round the fire, Munch chestnuts, tell stories and stir the blaze higher: We’ll comfort the robin with crumbs, little man, Till he’ll sing us the very best song that he can.



A long winter’s sleep? 10

Beneath the blanket of snow, life continues apace throughout the winter months ‌.



Snowdrops Drifts of snowdrops carpeting the woodland floor are one of the earliest signs of spring One of the earliest signs of spring is the appearance of graceful snowdrop flowers, that carpet the floors of some of our deciduous woodlands. “Chaste snowdrop, harbinger of spring” wrote Wordsworth, though rejoicing that winter is over when you spot the very first snowdrops is, to say the least, a little hasty! Snowdrops begin their flowering season when the weather is still decidedly chilly - although they look delicate their leaf tips are tough enough to push up to the surface through frozen soil, which in is how they gained their name of France and Snow Piercers in parts of the UK. A Snowdrop flower looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem which gives the plant its Latin name Galanthus which means milk-white flowers. There are seventy five different species and varieties of snowdrops, which are all white - and that’s probably why only two species are commonly cultivated, though snowdrop enthusiasts, known as

Galanthophiles cultivate large collections of different types. A Snowdrop flower looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem which gives the plant its Latin name Galanthus which means milk-white flowers. A snowdrop walk is a wonderful way to enjoy the countryside in late January and early February when snowdrops are in full flower. Many country estates and gardens open at this time of year to host these events. If there isn’t a snowdrop walk near you, then try wandering around your local churchyard as snowdrops and churches have an historical affinity. Many churchyards were planted with snowdrops so that there would be plenty of flowers available to decorate the church for Candlemas on 2 February to celebrate the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. It was traditional to leave Christmas greenery up until Candlemas when jugs and bowls of snowdrops would be brought inside to take its place. Wherever you go to enjoy snowdrops this spring, don’t plan to bring any home with you. We all know we shouldn’t pick flowers in the wild, but many people also consider snowdrops are unlucky flowers to bring into our homes. This superstition arose in Victorian times when it was believed that the flower structure resembled a corpse wrapped in a shroud.


A (very) Little History of Honiton Lace Lace originated as a means of fastening shoes and clothing before buttons were invented. But gradually it evolved into a more decorative and elaborate form more resembling the work we see today. Honiton Lace is a delicate, floral style of lace, that creates pictures from fine thread - that’s nearly always white in colour. In contrast with “straight” lace that begins at one end and finishes at the other in a rigid design, Honiton lace is much more flexible, allowing extremely elaborate and complex designs to be created. Indeed, it’s so very complex that it can take a skilled worker from eight to ten hours to make just one square inch. The earliest known example of Honiton lace dates from the late sixteenth century. Made in East Devon, and westwards into Dorset, its name comes from the town where it was collected from local makers. From Honiton it was transported to London where the painstakingly created pieces of lace were used to decorate the clothing of royalty and the fashionistas of the day.

Although the fashion at the time was for Brussels lace, Queen Victoria commissioned Honiton lace for her wedding ensemble, reviving the flagging lace industry (which had been badly affected by the availability of cheap, machine made lace. This Honiton lace flounce became one of her most treasured possessions; it was worn again at the weddings of her eldest child, Vicky, in 1858, and of her grandson, the future George V, in 1893. In further support of English industry, her dress was made of East London (Spitalfields) silk. For centuries, the creation of Honiton lace was a true cottage industry, employing women and girls as young as five. In 1870 the Education Act demanded that all children should attend school, but parents of many lacemaking children were reluctant to comply as families depended upon the income. In 1903 a compromise was reached. Schools were established where half the time was spent teaching lacemaking. It was an opportunity for women to earn money at what was considered to be a ladylike occupation.


Hand Sewing Needles 15


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.� Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)

Vegetarian Chilli Ingredients ● 2 onions, peeled ● 2 carrots, peeled and trimmed ● 1 green pepper, deseeded ● 2 sticks celery, trimmed ● 1 large sweet potato (about 300g), peeled ● 2 garlic cloves, peeled ● 1 tbsp olive oil ● 1 tsp ground cumin ● 1 tsp ground cinnamon ● 1 tsp hot chilli powder

● 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans in chilli sauce ● 1 x 500g carton passata

Method ● Roughly chop all the veg and the garlic; whiz in a food processor until finely chopped; it doesn't matter if there are bigger chunks left. Or finely chop them by hand. ● Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan. Add all the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes, until starting to soften. Stir in the spices, season, then cook for 30 seconds. Add the kidney beans and passata. Half-fill one of the tins with water, swirl it around then pour into the other tin and the carton of passata, and tip into the pan. Bring to the boil and stir well. Partially cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. ● We like to serve ours in bowls sprinkled with grated cheese, with guacamole, sour cream and tortilla chips on the side!

Treacle Sponge Pudding ● 2 tbsp milk

Ingredients ● 175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing ● 3 tbsp golden syrup, plus extra for drizzling

● Custard to serve


● 1 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs

● Use a small knob of butter to heavily grease a 1-litre pudding basin. In a small bowl, mix the golden syrup with the breadcrumbs and brandy, if using, then tip into the pudding basin

● splash brandy delicious)

● Beat butter with sugar and zest until light and fluffy, then add eggs gradually. Fold in the flour, then finally add the milk.


● 175g golden caster sugar ● zest 1 lemon ● 3 large eggs, beaten ● 175g self-raising flour


● Spoon the mix into the pudding basin. Cover with a double layer of buttered foil and baking paper, making a pleat in the centre to allow the pudding to rise. Tie the foil securely with string, then place in a steamer or large pan containing enough gently simmering water to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Steam for 1½ hrs. Turn out onto a serving dish. Serve with lashings of custard!

Tidying up in the Tool Shed January is a quiet time in the garden - hopefully most of your autumn tasks are complete, but it’s not yet time to begin preparations for the new growing season. So now is the best opportunity to get your garden shed in order - the perfect escape to the outside without being too exposed to the elements. Clean and stack your pots, discarding any broken plastic ones (most authorities will now recycle them) and saving any frost-damaged or broken terracotta ones to use for crocks as drainage in the bottom of newly planted containers. Wash your spades, forks, rakes and other tools in soapy water and dry with a cloth. Sharpen the edges of pruners, edging tools and even spades with a file. Sandpaper any splinters in wooden handles and rub with linseed oil to protect the wood. Spray metal areas with WD-40 and dry off, then buff with wire wool. And you’ll be all ready for spring with a set of clean, shiny, good-as-new tools and a lovely tidy shed where, for a while at least, you know where everything is!


Feed the Birds

Home Comforts Coming into bloom in early January, indoor varieties of cyclamen bring much needed colour and vibrancy to the home during the shortest days of winter. They aren’t too large, so can be displayed in all kinds of containers, though I particularly like the clear crisp lines of the container above, which provides an effective background upon which to display their delicate foliage and petals. Originating in woodland, they prefer cool locations out of direct sunlight, and you should also avoid over watering them. Instead, soak the pot thoroughly by standing it in several inches of water, then allow it to drain. When the compost becomes dry to the touch repeat the process.